1955 U.S. Open Champion Jack Fleck is the oldest living past champion. He won the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in a playoff over Ben Hogan in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in Major Championship history. Everyone has been so nice to him this week at The Olympic Club and everything about this week in San Francisco has been unbelievable. It is truly humbling to receive such a great reception.
In 1955, he made a contact with Ben Hogan because he was interested in playing his company’s clubs. Mr. Hogan’s general manager accepted the request and had a set of really great clubs made and delivered to him for the U.S. Open. That week at The Olympic Club, he and Ben Hogan were the only players using Ben Hogan golf clubs.
When he went to San Francisco for U.S. Open in 1955, he requested that his bed at the El Camino motel where he stayed for the week be moved so that his head would be facing the north and his feet would be facing the south. Years earlier, he had learned that that position based on magnetic fields would help him sleep better and indeed he slept very soundly all week long.
A couple of years ago, he had some swing advice for Tiger Woods after watching him during the 2010 U.S. Open. Over the years, the kinds of things that Tiger accomplished were just amazing but Fleck felt that like many current players he was getting buried in swing mechanics. He feels that all golfers today are over-instructed when it comes to their golf swings. Fleck said that he wanted to teach Tiger a couple of things that could help him but Tiger refused the advice.
In preparation for his rounds during the 1955 U.S. Open, he would go down to the beach to reflect and talk to the Lord. Fleck said that he felt very blessed all week and was calm in having the feeling that the Lord actually wanted him to win the U.S. Open that year.
During the playoff, he made a number of significant putts on holes 6-10 and while those putts were not incredibly long, they were very important because he was not a great putter and those ultimately made the difference between winning and losing the U.S. Open.
The biggest impact that winning the 1955 U.S. Open had on his life was that it was confirmation for him that he could truly compete under the highest amount of pressure. More often than not, he tended to perform better in competition than he did in practice sessions and he was very fortunate that he was able to rise to the occasion that week at The Olympic Club.